Chicago alderman says he’ll challenge Gov. Rauner in 2018

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Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar (Photo from chicago47.org)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar says he’s running to unseat Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

The Democrat and second-term alderman said Wednesday, Dec. 4, he would provide “a progressive counter-balance to the governor’s agenda.”

Pawar says he would push for Illinois to impose an additional tax on incomes over $1 million. He also wants to expand subsidized day care — a program Rauner cut amid Illinois’ budget crisis — and would decriminalize more drug offenses.

Illinois Republican Party spokesman Steven Jaffe called Pawar an “out-of-touch, tax-hiking politician,” noting he’s supported several Chicago tax increases.

Pawar starts with a massive fundraising disadvantage. His campaign account has about $50,000. Rauner just gave his own campaign $50 million.

Other Democrats considering running are businessmen Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker and state Sen. Andy Manar.